Archive for March, 2011

Days Gone By

Days Gone By

The smell of hyacinth always reminds me of the Metro in Moscow, Russia. Are you asking yourself if you read that right =D Yes, I said the smell of hyacinth reminds me of Moscow’s Metro. Here’s why:

I spent a semester abroad teaching children English. It was an extended semester stretching from January to June. As you can imagine, we arrived in the bitter cold of winter. I was prepared for the winter. What I wasn’t prepared for was the delight and warmth of spring and summer.

When I wasn’t teaching the children, I was off visiting classmates, sight-seeing or in class. The family I lived with, lived beyond the last Metro station on the red line – Yugo-Zapadnaya. This meant at least 45 minutes on the Metro (not including the 20 minute bus ride that brought me to the Metro). It was during one of my many commutes that I passed a woman selling flowers… that in and of itself, was not unusual. There was always someone buying flowers to bring to someone… there was always something to buy. What caught my attention was that it was not a bouquet, but a single stem wrapped in cellophane. I recognized it instantly – a hyacinth, one of my favorites. How could I resist? What I hadn’t counted on was the intoxication of its scent as I carried it with me. I would be riding the escalator down to the station and get lost in its scent. I almost missed a connection because I was so transported. Imagine the contrast of smells… an old and well used Metro system packed full with people and a hyacinth… I would spend the next hour enveloped in its scent… forgetting all about the squeezing and shoving that was going on around me… forgetting I was in Moscow…

The smell still transports me… to the Moscow Metro =D


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In the quiet moments of my day,when I am not busy with life, my thoughts turn to those in Japan. How alone they must feel surrounded by loss and the unknown… where are their loved ones and where is home.


How many prayers, offerings and pleas are being expressed on a daily basis… and in how many forms? I have not lost a loved one in this disaster. I am not anxiously awaiting for news of missing friend. And yet my heart aches when I see images of those who are. They are strangers to me… but still I offer up a plea that they might be comforted and find peace.


I have been folding origami cranes… as many others have. There is a Japanese tradition that a gift of a thousand origami cranes will bring blessings of hope, long life and recovery. So I fold, hoping that someone, somewhere, will benefit… that loved ones will be united.

Yashiro Japanese Garden – Olympia, WA

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patiently waiting

This little gnome has been patiently waiting to go back out into the garden… I brought him in weeks ago for a bath. He was filthy… the hens had been flicking mud on him. Not on purpose, mind you… they were just searching for worms and he happened to be in a prime location. I have been waiting to find a new location for him… waiting for flowers to come up, to find him the perfect spot. So here he sits… looking out the window into the garden he used to live in… twiddling his thumbs until I finally decide where he should live now. He shouldn’t have too much longer… the garden is starting to come alive!

This little cloaked beauty recently came to my garden. I love her green hood… she is the envy of all those around her.  I love how it swirls around her, giving just a hint of her beauty. She is so mysterious… but with each passing day, she reveals more of herself… she is beginning to open up. Soon she will leave the cloak behind… I can just feel it =D

These ladies are beginning to put on a show as well. They are the ‘Apple Blossom’ Clematis… they are one of the first flowers in my garden. The buds have been out for weeks. Yesterday I noticed that a few buds finally opened. Luckily they are high off the ground, growing up a trellis… where my hens can’t get to them… they love to sample flower buds! These ladies are free to put on a show… perhaps my gnome would like to watch… I’ll have to see what I can do.

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sunshine, blue skies and belonging

What does HOME mean to you? Is it what you live in and where? Is it something physical or a feeling? How do you know when you are home? I have been thinking about this since Monday when I started Unravelling #2 – an e-course that encourages you to explore how you see your world through photography and writing… imagine me being drawn to such a thing =D

I have noticed that there are little things outside my house that make it feel like home for me… there is always a patch of blue sky – thanks to the mailbox the Hannays made for us when we moved into our house. There is always sunshine… even if I have to go to the backyard to see an artist’s interpretation of it. And there are little men scattered around the garden with pointy hats. It does not matter if they are meditating, working or listening, they are always there to greet me and make me smile…

heart, hands and the world

Inside there are reminders that there are many places my heart and hands consider home. My house is filled with the memories of my heart… those places where I had a connection with the people and the land… where I felt I belonged. Places I long to return to, so that I can feel that feeling of home again.

Home is where my heart is…  where I have dared to be vulnerable and was rewarded with love and acceptance. It is that safe place when things seem uncertain. It is a place of celebration and delight. It is where I want to be… surrounded by the people and things that I love!

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details inside and out

These are pictures my mother took while she was in Graz, Austria… where I lived until I was seven years old. We moved back to the states over 30 years ago, and yet I still considered Graz my Zuhause… my home. Mom shares this feeling… this longing… this homesickness.

cobblestones and birds

She knows my love of details and my love of Graz… as a birthday present to me, she combined the two. She happened to be in Graz in February. While there, she wandered through Graz taking pictures of things she thought I’d remember or love… she did an AMAZING job. I won’t share all of them here… just a few of her themes!

Semmels. Sueßigkeiten. Blumen. Stoff. Straßenbahn…

When we lived there we were always out shopping for the daily necessities. On and off Straßenbahns, feeding… or I should say chasing pigeons, passing gumball machines, looking for perfect fabrics, walking through parks and checking out flowers… it was always an adventure.

out and about

The things I miss most… because there’s nothing close here in Washington state… village towns with churches and their amazing steeples… Straßenbahns and fortresses… clock-towers and passageways… and HUNDREDS of years of history. This may sound strange, but I can smell Graz when I see theses pictures… it’s as if I am standing in my friend’s shoes… looking out over Graz. Perhaps it is wishful thinking =D

Thanks for all the memories Mom!!

Graz, Austria – as Mom sees it!

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pink glow

One of my favorite times of year… when the flowering cherry trees begin to glow… that hint of pink as the buds begin to open. Every day the trees expand with pink petals. Even the rain can’t hold them back. Soon the petals will be raining down and cover the ground in a soft blanket of pink.

stripes and raindrops

And then there are the croci pushing up through the soil… seeking sun and rain. Right now they are mostly finding rain… I’m sure they are hoping for sunshine as much as I am =D They tolerate so much… snow, wind, rain… when they are anchored in the soil. Just don’t pick them and bring them inside… there they just whither.

rainy-day sunshine-substitute

On those days… weeks, when the sun doesn’t show its face, here in the Pacific Northwest, these little flowers are a nice substitute. Just as the warmth of the sun on my face makes me smile, so does the sight of yellow daffodils lined up along a fence or dotting a field.

Downtown Olympia, WA

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Do you recognize these seeds? I picked them up at a seed exchange two summers ago. I figured they were free, so why not give them a try? And I always wanted some Calendula in my garden. Less than a week ago, I tucked some of these seeds into some seedling mix, warmed the soil, put on a cover and placed them under a grow light. And today I saw this:


There are three other types of seeds in the seedling tray. These were the first to send up their little cotyledons (leaves). I was so excited… I thought they might not even come up… and here they are, the first ones up! We’ll see what the next few days and weeks bring =D

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